Investigation number
Occurrence date
Edith River near Katherine
Northern Territory
Report release date
Report status
Investigation level
Investigation type
Occurrence Investigation
Investigation status
Occurrence category
Highest injury level

On 12 September 2012 Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd (GWA) provided the following update in relation to safety issues identified in the final report.

4.1.1 Policies, procedures and training

Safety issue

GWA policies, procedures and training had little if any guidance for employees quantifying the duration, consequential dangers and responses to severe weather events.

Action proposed by Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd

GWA has now developed its own Extreme Weather Monitoring and Warning procedure (RS-PRC-072) which replaces the FreightLink procedure FL-PRO-06-010E. The new procedure details a range of organisational responses aligned to specified weather trigger events and reflects learnings from the Edith River Bridge derailment. GWA has also reviewed its Cyclone Response Plan (RS-PRC-017) in conjunction with Network Users, once again with the aim of incorporating learnings from the derailment into the document.

An awareness package has been developed for delivery to all GWA train crews which details the recommended action to be taken in response to flooded track, storms, extreme wind events and line side fires. The package will be rolled out prior to the start of the Monsoon season and will also be delivered to Transport Controllers, operational staff, track inspectors and members of senior management involved in the decision-making process.

4.1.2 Monitoring of severe weather and flood events

Safety issue

The warning systems in place to alert GWA staff as to the severity of a flood event at the Edith River Rail Bridge were ineffective.

Action proposed by Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd

GWA is reviewing the risk profile of the Tarcoola-Darwin railway relative to its structures and local hydrology with the aim of focussing attention and mitigating strategies against future flood events to potential high risk locations.

At the same time, GWA has engaged a specialist weather monitoring service which will provide the organisation with advance warning of potential extreme weather events relative to the railway network. The alerts are aligned to the GWA Extreme Weather Monitoring and Warning procedure and will be promulgated to Transport Control and other operational decision-makers.

GWA is also working on a commercial agreement with NRETAS to access warnings from twenty (20) existing stream flow detectors adjacent to the railway corridor. These detectors provide live data on rising water levels in catchment areas in the Northern Territory. By adding its own warning thresholds to the existing NRETAS infrastructure, GWA will be able to receive notification about rising water levels at each of the catchment areas. This work will be completed by late September 2012.

Lastly, GWA is installing stream flow detectors at six (6) major bridges (as defined by ADrail and having a 30 metre span) north of Katherine. The system consists of a detection unit, communication modem and two aspect signals. The position of these signals has been established in consultation with train crews to achieve a sighting distance approaching 2.5 km from the bridges. The unit will detect when water levels are about to reach the ‘top of formation’ and will provide an alert to both train control and train crews. This technology has been successfully implemented in the Pilbara region recently. At an estimated cost of $1.5 million, installations at all six (6) sites will be complete by November 2012.

Train Details
Train number
Train damage
Departure point
Adelaide, SA
Rail occurrence type
Darwin, NT
Rail Operator
Genesee & Wyoming Australia
Rail Operation Type
Mixed freight